"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Eminent Senator From Massachusetts

As the campaign winds down, I, like many people, am still trying to get a handle on the Kerry Doctrine. On the Kedwards web site, I found a May 2004 LA Times article, excerpted below, that sheds some light:

If an attack with a weapon of mass destruction ever seems imminent, [Kerry] said, "As commander in chief, I will do whatever is necessary to stop it."

In a conference call with reporters before the speech, Kerry foreign policy advisor Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger said those remarks were not meant to embrace Bush's doctrine of launching preemptive attacks against states the U.S. views as a threat.

Berger, who was President Clinton's national security advisor, said there was "a profound difference between elevating preemption to a defining strategic doctrine," as Bush has, and "recognizing that no president is going to stand by, if he sees an immediate threat to the United States, and not take action."

Some questions come to mind:

  • When would a President Kerry deem a WMD attack imminent?
  • When was 9/11 imminent?
  • Why should we listen to the former national security advisor who presided over a feckless anti-terrorism strategy that led directly to 9/11?
  • When Berger states that "no president is going to stand by, if he sees an imminent threat to the United States...", isn't he saying that that is the default, no-brainer, you-should-be-impeached-if-you-don't-take-action position?
  • Then why should Kerry brag about holding such a position?
  • Wasn't this more or less the 9/10 policy of the U.S.?
  • Wouldn't the post-9/11 Kerry Doctrine, applied to Afghanistan before 9/11, have precluded a preemptive attack on Al Qaeda and its Taliban sponsors, because we had no evidence of an imminent threat?
  • Isn't Kerry essentially saying that he's willing to repeat the mistake of 9/11 unless terrorists telegraph their intentions?
  • Isn't "elevating preemption to a defining strategic doctrine" the only rational response to 9/11?